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The Cha Cha Cha or simply Cha Cha is a fast rhythmic dance of Cuban origin and among of first to be included in ballroom dancing. One of the distinct qualities of this dance form is found not in the steps by in the beat it is danced to. Enrique Jorrin, a Cuban composer and violinist introduced the music for the Cha Cha which consists of a 4/4 beat. The origin of the name is even more interesting. It comes from the sound derived from the rhythm of the scraper and the shuffling of the dancers’ feet.

From Cuba to England

While Enrique Jorrin composed the music it was studies made by dance teacher Monsieur Pierre Zurcher-Margolle and his dance partner Doris Lavelle that gave birth to the ballroom style of Cha Cha. On his visit to Cuba in 1952 he noticed that the dance had a split fourth beat where dancers began on the second beat. He brought this idea back to England and created ballroom cha cha cha. Many dancers prefer the original beats although the music for this dance has now been influenced by mainstream genres like Latin pop. Today, many songs that resemble the rhythm and tempo of the cha cha can be used although it must have a sensual feel.

Let’s do the cha cha

Dance instructors translate the 4/4 beat as “slow-slow-quick-quick-slow” or “step-step-chacha-step”. Cuban music or Latin pop or rock is the ideal choice of music for the cha cha, as long as it is energetic with a steady beat. The dance form is more sensual and requires agility, which is the ability to rapidly change weight and position.  The timing is 1 2 3 cha-cha 1 2 3 cha-cha danced at a slow, medium or fast tempo. The cha cha involves interaction from both partners who constantly push forward, making it possible to dance into the floor.

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The attributes of a good cha cha dancer

Cha Cha requires the development of a number of attributes that include good musicality, good movement, the ability to sense your partner, and a memory for figures. These skills combine to make an excellent cha cha dancer. You also need to work on a few attributes that often do not come naturally. If you’re a late starter you may need to work on your physicality since this dance form requires an able body and tons of flexibility. Timing is very important which means you need to keep the beat. In the process, don’t forget to enjoy dancing. If you work on these few attributes your cha cha will just keep getting better.